Science Lecture Series hosts Research Scientist who is Currently Working on the First Cystic Fibrosis Treatment

(L-R) Dr. Curt McLendon, Professor Emeritus; Sara Sheybani, Sr. Lab Technician; Teresa Bear, Professor; Dr. Brian Bear, Vertex Pharmaceuticals; Stacy Motenko, CF Patient;Paul Motenko, OC Chapter President, CF Foundation; Dr. Jim Zoval, Professor; Steve The, Co-chair of Biological Sciences & Professor

On Friday, March 2nd, Dr. Brian Bear spoke to a packed lecture hall about the first-ever FDA approved treatment of the underlying cause of Cystic Fibrosis (CF). According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, “Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide).”

Dr. Bear is a Senior Research Scientist at Vertex Pharmaceuticals in San Diego, which recently got FDA approval for the drug Kalydeco. The drug treats a specific gene mutation in CF patients ages six and older. Dr. Bear talked about the current drug and his company’s hopes to expand treatment to even more patients. Following his lectures, students asked several questions about his research and the drug and many stayed after the lecture to get some face-to-face time with Dr. Bear.

Dr. Bear introduced the President of the Orange County Chapter of the CF Foundation, Paul Motenko, who told the audience the story of his daughter, a young adult about their age who is living with CF. Both he and his daughter, Stacy Motenko, spoke about the many friends she had lost to the disease and how her hope for a long life have been renewed with the advancement of drugs like Kalydeco.

The Science Lecture Series is designed to give students and the college community the chance to meet renowned scientists and learn about their area of expertise. The Series is composed of eight, 90-minute lectures that end with an open forum discussion. Audience members interact directly with the distinguished expert. For a list of future and past engagements, visit saddleback.edu/news/science-lecture-series/.

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